SPOTLIGHT: NYU Stern MBA Alumnus Jesse Bloom ‘20
Author: Jason Worobow
Our most recent PEVC Club Spotlight focuses on Jesse Bloom who graduated from the NYU full-time MBA program in 2020. Today, Jesse is a Vice President at Alpha Partners, a next-generation growth equity firm that focuses on accelerating private technology companies. As a Vice President at Alpha Partners, Jesse is the lead planner of Alpha’s venture capital network operations and deal flow. He is also a contributor to Alpha’s sector intelligence and outlook, content marketing, and event marketing.
Prior to joining Alpha Partners, Jesse built a financial advisory practice at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, specializing in corporate stock plans and asset allocation. At Morgan Stanley, Jesse helped families turn stock options into reliable retirement plans and managed over $15 million in public and private investments.
While Jesse is now working in what we both agree is the most interesting field in the world, venture capital, his early career path could have led him to a completely different destination.
Jesse’s original plan was to train at Morgan Stanley, learn the ropes of the brokerage business, then eventually take over his father’s brokerage firm in New Jersey. Unfortunately, after a few years at Morgan Stanley, Jesse felt unfulfilled by his role selling stocks and bonds. Hoping to make a positive change, Jesse then took it upon himself to apply to business school and explore other professional opportunities. He said his main objective when applying to business school was to transition to a career he was more passionate about and to give himself the opportunity to network with other like-minded individuals.
Jesse hit some initial turbulence gaining admission to business school. After applying to 5 schools, he was rejected from every single one, with a lone interview at M.I.T as the only thing to show for his efforts. Undeterred, the following year, Jesse applied to twice as many schools as he had previously. This go-around he was granted several interviews, and when the dust settled Jesse was set to attend Georgetown University McDonough School of Business. With the new school year on the horizon, Jesse went backpacking in New Zealand. While he was there, a call from an NYU admissions officer changed his trajectory. After a quick flight to NYC, two stops, one at a bagel shop and one at NYU Stern Admissions, Jesse immediately returned to Queenstown. He just secured one of the final spots in the incoming NYU MBA class for that year.
Jesse reflected positively on his time at Stern and noted that his Private Equity Finance class with Professor Gustavo Schwed was one of the most impactful classes of his entire academic career.
This course gave me the most resources, and I, to this day, use them in my professional life. His templates, models, key fundamental points — really everything.
While at NYU Jesse also participated in a Doing Business in (DBi) program, a multi-day abroad course, in Mexico City. Jesse said the experience was amongst the best learning opportunities of his academic career, and, as an added bonus, he returned from the trip with lifelong friends.
Breaking into VC
Like gaining admission to business school, Jesse initially had a tough time breaking into the competitive field of venture capital. Jesse landed an internship at Alpha Partners between his first and second year of school, but upon graduation had difficulty landing a full-time gig. He was highly motivated to find the right position. Over the course of 8 months, he applied to 92 different firms and networked with anyone who would take his call. Ultimately, it was Alpha Partners, the company he had worked for previously that would take him on full-time.
Jesse had a lot to prove when he started at Alpha Partners. They had offered him a limited 6-month position to establish that he was able to handle the job responsibilities and deliver results. While this sounds like a high pressure situation, Jesse felt energized and excited that he had his foot in the door. It was during this 6-month trial period that he spawned what he considers to be his greatest professional accomplishment to date, the inception of Newbie VC.
Newbie VC is an exclusive community, designed to meet the needs specifically of first-year, full-time VCs investing in ventures. Jesse was inspired to start the group due to the scarcity of training resources available to new VCs. Jesse recognized that there were no hard-coded training manuals and that the way to learn was more akin to an apprenticeship than was true for other industries that onboard new employees. Learning a job where there is no formal training is extremely difficult.
These people are in the weeds. There is no training, all first-years are running around with their hair on fire, trying to figure out how to talk to founders. Everyone is really open to making connections and these people were cool, nice, and willing to help.
The community is entirely referral-based and Jesse interviews all candidates prior to admission. In addition to being a “slack channel on steroids” for all questions VC, the group of ~140 newly minted VCs plan networking events and trips to places like Park City.
This group has been my calling in a way. It is the real reason I have had any sort of success in this job. Community is at 140 and everyone knows each other's names. It is way different than random forums online where no one knows each other or has personal relationships.
What makes a great VC
When I asked Jesse about the skills and traits that made him and other VCs successful he put a lot of emphasis on time management.
Jesse feels that in order to succeed one needs to prioritize their time incredibly well. He stressed that in this work there are a million different things that need to get done every day, and an infinite amount of work that goes into each deal.
My biggest piece of advice to new VCs is to find the path with the least resistance. It will always be easier to work on the deal you are most excited about or are personally interested in. But, the best thing you can do is go off of your partner’s needs and prioritize your most likely deals. When you are burning political capital on a deal that is never going to get done, it is such a waste of time.
Jesse’s own difficulties breaking into the field are definitely shared by many. His advice to current students was to be persistent and network as much as possible.
Just put your foot on the gas and don’t let up, ever. It is so difficult to get a job in this business. Having that persistence is crucial. I was unemployed for 8 months after graduating, trying to get a full-time gig, so it definitely wasn’t easy for me. Try to network as much as humanly possible and get your foot into every door you can.
When describing challenges in his current role, Jesse noted that his challenges at first were things like learning what a good company looks like, and how to spot a bad one. He further described how this is also true for learning how to recognize bad terms vs. good terms and how difficult it can be to develop this skill. Jesse went on to explain that many of his challenges today are community and people-driven.
My biggest challenge is maintaining a strong community that I need to say no to 99% of the time. We only invest in <1% of the deals we get from our partners. You need to be able to say no in a way that doesn’t kill the next deal. It is a skill that requires a high amount of emotional intelligence and one that I continually work on.
In Jesse’s free time he loves to go to comedy shows and is a frequent audience member at the Comedy Cellar. He loves to ski and takes trips out west with friends and family. Jesse also loves to read, especially books that highlight historical events and wars.
If you want to learn more about Jesse, check out his website here.
If you have questions, recommendations, or alumni we should spotlight please reach out to email@example.com.